Corey Stoll has written a great essay about what it was like to play Brutus in the Trump-themed Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar:
In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act. I’m thankful for all the beautiful defenses of our production written in the last few weeks. But the cliché is true: In politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. So if you’re making art, by all means question yourself and allow yourself to be influenced by critics of good faith. But don’t allow yourself to be gaslighted or sucked into a bad-faith argument. A play is not a tweet. It can’t be compressed and embedded and it definitely can’t be delivered apologetically. The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do. May we continue to stand behind our work, and, when interrupted, pick it right back up from “liberty and freedom.”
I think the lack of proper education in our country is the root of many of our ills. In particular, education equips us with the ability to grasp and interpret complex works of art, and take away lessons from them that continue to be relevant.
The ferocity of the right wing response against this Caesar production, which doesn’t take into account any of its over-arching messages, is simply another saddening sign of the death of nuance in our discourse.